Although the highly revered monarch passed away in 2016, the Thai people still commemorate December 05 as the national day and Father's Day in remembrance of His Majesty's benevolence.
For about two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has been preventing us from enjoying our time with friends and families in person, let alone holding large public gatherings. It has proven that in times of a global crisis that affects all of us indiscriminately, international collaboration is crucial to overcome the challenge.
As the critical and difficult period is improving, we should be prepared to restore growth and strengthen our resilience to deal with other possible disruptions that could emerge in diverse forms such as climate change, resource scarcity and natural disaster. This means that every aspect of our future activities should increasingly be more oriented towards sustainability.
This is an area where Thailand and Bangladesh can share experiences. Thailand is shifting towards the Bio-Circular-Green or BCG economy model to use the existing resources more effectively and leave enough for the next generations.
At the same time, Bangladesh has adopted an explicit roadmap like the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan and has set clear goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would contribute to sustainable development. Moreover, Bangladesh has impressively represented the Climate Vulnerable Forum andV20 in voicing out the concern and expectations related to climate change and development.
Therefore, both countries can forge a "green partnership" to foster balanced growth and advocate sustainable prosperity for our peoples and planet at the same time.
As normal business is coming back, Thailand eagerly looks forward to 2022 when bilateral meetings and visits can be held. Since July of this year, Thailand has been gradually opening the country to foreigners. For visitors from Bangladesh, travel restrictions have been eased for all types of visas since 1 November 2021, enabling both sides to resume people-to-people connections under new normal conditions.
Before the global economy was hampered and stalled by the COVID-19, Thailand and Bangladesh aimed to increase trade volume to $2 billion. Both sides are working closely and actively to facilitate more trade and achieve the target.
A bilateral free trade agreement is under consideration while more cost-effective sea transport routes between the Andaman coast of Thailand and the Bay of Bengal are being explored. The Port Authority of Thailand and the Chittagong Port Authority are preparing to enhance cooperation in this regard.
In 2022, Thailand and Bangladesh will celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Looking back throughout the past five decades, the two nations have continuously nurtured friendship and cooperation for the common benefit of our peoples.
Thailand was among the first friends that recognized Bangladesh in February 1972 and established diplomatic relations on 5 October 1972. Since then, there has been flourishing collaboration in various levels and sectors, especially in technical cooperation which started in 2013.
The pandemic situation has deprived too many opportunities and so much prosperity of mankind but that should not discourage us from finding a solution to live with it. The road towards rebuilding more enduring and resilient development will undoubtedly be long and winding.
Yet it is still manageable if we work together in solidarity to synergise our wisdom and strength. This could be the theme for Thailand and Bangladesh to celebrate the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations by promoting "green partnership for all."
The author is Ambassador of Thailand to Bangladesh
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.